Rendezvous in Central Square

★★★★☆
  • 502 Massachusetts Avenue

    Cambridge, MA 02139

    Cross street: Brookline Street

    Map & Directions
  • 617-576-1900

About Rendezvous in Central Square

Hours
Sun-Thu 5pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm

Food

Food
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On August 25 after working a long hard day in the lab I decided to treat myself. My wife was having her book club that evening so at 4:30 pm that afternoon I called the Rendezvous Restaurant in Cambridge. I reserved a table for myself and specifically asked the hostess if she could hold one of two tables for me. She checked her schedule and confirmed the availability for 7:30PM that evening. I arrived at the restaurant timely only to find they did not hold either table as promised. A short fatty with a beard who acted like the manager told me that two other couples came in right before me and it was their special night so he elected to give both tables out. He basically told me that under no conditions would he ever hold a special table for me and he does not do it for anyone. The hostess who reserved the table for me kept her head down behind him. I asked him why would you tell someone you would hold a special table and then give it out? He turned his back on me. I left the restaurant and shall never return. This arrogant man must get pleasure in dismissing people. Something about the atmosphere of the bearded host in this restaurant tells me its not a nice friendly place. I ended up calling Espalier in Boston they were packed yet they gave me a beautiful table at 8:30 that evening, and they know how to treat their customers!!

0
★☆☆☆☆

On August 25 after working a long hard day in the lab I decided to treat myself. My wife was having her book club that evening so at 4:30 pm that afternoon I called the Rendezvous Restaurant in Cambridge. I reserved a table for myself and specifically asked the hostess if she could hold one of two tables for me. She checked her schedule and confirmed the availability for 7:30PM that evening. I arrived at the restaurant timely only to find they did not hold either table as promised. A short fatty with a beard who acted like the manager told me that two other couples came in right before me and it was their special night so he elected to give both tables out. He basically told me that under no conditions would he ever hold a special table for me and he does not do it for anyone. The hostess who reserved the table for me kept her head down behind him. I asked him why would you tell someone you would hold a special table and then give it out? He turned his back on me. I left the restaurant and shall never return. This arrogant man must get pleasure in dismissing people. Something about the atmosphere of the bearded host in this restaurant tells me its not a nice friendly place. I ended up calling Espalier in Boston they were packed yet they gave me a beautiful table at 8:30 that evening, and they know how to treat their customers!!

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We arrived at the restaurant for my daughters birthday. We had the charcuterie assortment and vegetable antipasto. I was sick for two days afterwards. This was such a great disappointment obviously a very bad experience. I would not order those appetizers again.

0
★☆☆☆☆

We arrived at the restaurant for my daughters birthday. We had the charcuterie assortment and vegetable antipasto. I was sick for two days afterwards. This was such a great disappointment obviously a very bad experience. I would not order those appetizers again.

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Rendezvous is a bit of a surprise find in Central Square. Particularly so, since it has a distinct cocktail menu paired with a food menu that has no trouble standing up to the cocktails. Though comfortable, my only gripe is the decor is a bit nondescript. The ghosts of former inhabitants (Burger King, gasp!) still haunt the place.
Recent repeat visit was on a themed "After work Tapas Monday" where every plate is $5. My crew of foodies sampled

Grilled sardines with charmoula - Nicely charred, drizzled in olive oil and delicious with Iggy's bread.

Salty head-on shrimp with garlic + chili oil: by far my favorite. Brought back memories of Spain with distinct spanish paprika and garlic falovors with just the right amount of salt. A bargain of the lot for $5..

Sauted Squid with chorizo + arroz negro: The squid was perfectly cooked and the black squid ink rice was indeed jet black. Was a touch overcooked for my taste buds but all-in-all tasty.

Fried green almonds with EVOO, preserved lemon + sea salt: This was an interesting plate, since I dont remember the last time I had almonds in their raw, unripe state, prepared almost like a vegetable rather than a nut. Intriguing as the plate was, it didnt speak to me.

Shy Brothers Farm fresh cow??s milk curd drizzled with linden flower honey. This evoked thoughts of homemade ricotta with honey, though upon the plate's tasting it became clear that this curd was similar to a yogurt with more tang and less of the expected creaminess. I, for one, desired more honey. With a preserve, would have been a complete breakfast dish.

Roast cauliflower with garlic + pine nuts. The cauliflower was spot on here roasted to its caramel goodness. The pinoli were a nice accent.

Grilled merguez sausage with yogurt sauce, pomegranate + mint. The merguez was good, though a bit on the dry side. What really caught my attention was the spiced cooked fruit on the bed underneath the sausage. At first I thought it was pear, but was later told it was quince! the quince was cooked in "christmas" spices of nutmeg, allspice, etc. and had a good amount of sweetness. A bit too strong for me but surprising touch nevertheless.

This was definitely a memorable meal to say the least and your patron and guests were full in the end without breaking the bank.

2
★★★★☆

Rendezvous is a bit of a surprise find in Central Square. Particularly so, since it has a distinct cocktail menu paired with a food menu that has no trouble standing up to the cocktails. Though comfortable, my only gripe is the decor is a bit nondescript. The ghosts of former inhabitants (Burger King, gasp!) still haunt the place.
Recent repeat visit was on a themed "After work Tapas Monday" where every plate is $5. My crew of foodies sampled

Grilled sardines with charmoula - Nicely charred, drizzled in olive oil and delicious with Iggy's bread.

Salty head-on shrimp with garlic + chili oil: by far my favorite. Brought back memories of Spain with distinct spanish paprika and garlic falovors with just the right amount of salt. A bargain of the lot for $5..

Sauted Squid with chorizo + arroz negro: The squid was perfectly cooked and the black squid ink rice was indeed jet black. Was a touch overcooked for my taste buds but all-in-all tasty.

Fried green almonds with EVOO, preserved lemon + sea salt: This was an interesting plate, since I dont remember the last time I had almonds in their raw, unripe state, prepared almost like a vegetable rather than a nut. Intriguing as the plate was, it didnt speak to me.

Shy Brothers Farm fresh cow??s milk curd drizzled with linden flower honey. This evoked thoughts of homemade ricotta with honey, though upon the plate's tasting it became clear that this curd was similar to a yogurt with more tang and less of the expected creaminess. I, for one, desired more honey. With a preserve, would have been a complete breakfast dish.

Roast cauliflower with garlic + pine nuts. The cauliflower was spot on here roasted to its caramel goodness. The pinoli were a nice accent.

Grilled merguez sausage with yogurt sauce, pomegranate + mint. The merguez was good, though a bit on the dry side. What really caught my attention was the spiced cooked fruit on the bed underneath the sausage. At first I thought it was pear, but was later told it was quince! the quince was cooked in "christmas" spices of nutmeg, allspice, etc. and had a good amount of sweetness. A bit too strong for me but surprising touch nevertheless.

This was definitely a memorable meal to say the least and your patron and guests were full in the end without breaking the bank.

Pros: Location, food, service

Cons: haunted past of ex Burger King

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The best food for the money I have ever had. Steve has a fabulous palate and I have always been glad I had the dish I ordered. Nothing is over-priced. Cocktails are great !!! The wine list is small, but it is one of the best chosen wine lists in the city. The wines are reasonably priced with many "unknown" producers and all of the wines I have had were full of character. There are no formulaic bland Chiantis or Merlots, etc. In my dining experience a wine list like this has been a rarity .

2
★★★★★

The best food for the money I have ever had. Steve has a fabulous palate and I have always been glad I had the dish I ordered. Nothing is over-priced. Cocktails are great !!! The wine list is small, but it is one of the best chosen wine lists in the city. The wines are reasonably priced with many "unknown" producers and all of the wines I have had were full of character. There are no formulaic bland Chiantis or Merlots, etc. In my dining experience a wine list like this has been a rarity .

Pros: Fabulous Cuisine, Great Service, Welcoming Atmosphere

Cons: I don't like bamboo table tops

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I've eaten here several times and have always been pleased with the food. In particular, the appetizers are fabulous! The menu changes seasonally so there is always something new and interesting to try.

4
★★★★☆

I've eaten here several times and have always been pleased with the food. In particular, the appetizers are fabulous! The menu changes seasonally so there is always something new and interesting to try.

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I eat here as often as I think I can afford it. The restaurant is a giant room with a small bar so it can be a bit noisy but it's not overwhelming. Always a friendly welcome and good service. Some very good food-- fresh and original treatment, although I wish they would offer more vegetarian options and change them more frequently. Carnivores will find lots of good stuff.

4
★★★★☆

I eat here as often as I think I can afford it. The restaurant is a giant room with a small bar so it can be a bit noisy but it's not overwhelming. Always a friendly welcome and good service. Some very good food-- fresh and original treatment, although I wish they would offer more vegetarian options and change them more frequently. Carnivores will find lots of good stuff.

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The hostess came by the table 30 minutes after seating us to let us know that there were people coming in after us and that we should be mindful of the time. We ignored this comment as it seems somewhat ridiculous and ate a decent, but definitely overpriced meal. Then as we were waiting for our friend to return from the bathroom, the hostess returned to our table to remind us that we had exceeded our two hour time limit and essentially asked us to leave. When we confronted them that we had never experienced this type of treatment before, the owner came over, introduced himself and said, "I am the owner." We didn't know what to say to that. He then defended the hostess, at one point rolling his eyes at our discontent. I have never received service this poor in my life. I should also mention that at the beginning of the night, when there was a thunderstorm going on, three of the people at our table had drops of water land on our shoulder, head and hands. To remedy this problem, they moved our table two feet over, after which we continued to feel occasion drops that went ignored.

0
★☆☆☆☆

The hostess came by the table 30 minutes after seating us to let us know that there were people coming in after us and that we should be mindful of the time. We ignored this comment as it seems somewhat ridiculous and ate a decent, but definitely overpriced meal. Then as we were waiting for our friend to return from the bathroom, the hostess returned to our table to remind us that we had exceeded our two hour time limit and essentially asked us to leave. When we confronted them that we had never experienced this type of treatment before, the owner came over, introduced himself and said, "I am the owner." We didn't know what to say to that. He then defended the hostess, at one point rolling his eyes at our discontent. I have never received service this poor in my life. I should also mention that at the beginning of the night, when there was a thunderstorm going on, three of the people at our table had drops of water land on our shoulder, head and hands. To remedy this problem, they moved our table two feet over, after which we continued to feel occasion drops that went ignored.

Cons: Terrible place for dining in large groups because they set a 2 hours time limit on your reservation before putting pressure on you to leave.

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We have been fond of Rendezvous in the past so we were shocked at the shoddy treatment we received last night. The two beasts who control the seating were incompetent and ineffective. Despite a reservation we were made to wait for more than a half hour. People who arrived after we did were seated before us. When I questioned it, I was told that there are "different tables for different people". Then they tried to cram 3 of us into a table for two while other tables became available. Food was fine (not sensational) and waitstaff was also fine. Mamagement needs a major overhaul and needs to treat people with respect.

1
★★★☆☆

We have been fond of Rendezvous in the past so we were shocked at the shoddy treatment we received last night. The two beasts who control the seating were incompetent and ineffective. Despite a reservation we were made to wait for more than a half hour. People who arrived after we did were seated before us. When I questioned it, I was told that there are "different tables for different people". Then they tried to cram 3 of us into a table for two while other tables became available. Food was fine (not sensational) and waitstaff was also fine. Mamagement needs a major overhaul and needs to treat people with respect.

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My boyfriend and I recently went to rendezvous for dinner. I was very excited to go since I have heard so much about this place. I have to say I was disappointed. First of all we decided to take advantage of there valet service so we woudn't have to search for parking on a busy Friday night. The attendent comes over to my car and just stands there..so I finally say "how much is it??" He tells me $12.00 . We hand him a twenty and he asks.."how much do you want back?" I'm sorry but while we had every intention of tipping him to be so forward was just plain tacky. Our waitress was prompt as was overall service but not anything to rave about. For example we were never asked if our food was ok. At one point another waiter literally ramed into my boyfriends chair and didn't even said sorry. We got the gnocci to start it was very good. I got the duck it was nothing special. My partners steak was very good, however for the price it came with A (as in 1) mushroom and the smallest square of potatoes imaginable.Dessert actually made us laugh....it was a sliver of cake. I think they could have got 30 servings out af an 8x8 cake. Aside from the valet I would not say it was a bad experience but for the money you could have a far better one someplace else..I know I have.

1
★★★☆☆

My boyfriend and I recently went to rendezvous for dinner. I was very excited to go since I have heard so much about this place. I have to say I was disappointed. First of all we decided to take advantage of there valet service so we woudn't have to search for parking on a busy Friday night. The attendent comes over to my car and just stands there..so I finally say "how much is it??" He tells me $12.00 . We hand him a twenty and he asks.."how much do you want back?" I'm sorry but while we had every intention of tipping him to be so forward was just plain tacky. Our waitress was prompt as was overall service but not anything to rave about. For example we were never asked if our food was ok. At one point another waiter literally ramed into my boyfriends chair and didn't even said sorry. We got the gnocci to start it was very good. I got the duck it was nothing special. My partners steak was very good, however for the price it came with A (as in 1) mushroom and the smallest square of potatoes imaginable.Dessert actually made us laugh....it was a sliver of cake. I think they could have got 30 servings out af an 8x8 cake. Aside from the valet I would not say it was a bad experience but for the money you could have a far better one someplace else..I know I have.

Pros: nice wine selection

Cons: rude valet, pricey

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I love this restaurant and I can't wait to go back. The cocktail list is amazing (I recommend the curry gin cocktail) and the food is outstanding. The service is really nice and very efficient. We had the heirloom tomatoes - very ripe and delicious. I had the swordfish which was just spectacular; my friend had the cod, which was in the most delicious broth ever. Desserts were no exception. Overall we had a fabulous dinner here - I ate a lot but did not even feel stuffed!

2
★★★★★

I love this restaurant and I can't wait to go back. The cocktail list is amazing (I recommend the curry gin cocktail) and the food is outstanding. The service is really nice and very efficient. We had the heirloom tomatoes - very ripe and delicious. I had the swordfish which was just spectacular; my friend had the cod, which was in the most delicious broth ever. Desserts were no exception. Overall we had a fabulous dinner here - I ate a lot but did not even feel stuffed!

Pros: Nice space, amazing food and service

Cons: Pricey...

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Central Square is finally getting some decent places to eat. It always had the pubs, Indian and low end stuff (all very good), but it's nice that a more upscale place has arrived.

I've gone three times now and enjoyed each trip. The appetizers and desserts are excellent so far and the main courses are good to very good. The wine list is always interesting and the staff have been quite friendly.

The downside to it being good is that it's gotten quite crowded and it can be a little noisey. It's nice that you can usually just walk in and get a seat at the bar and order from the full menu.

2
★★★★☆

Central Square is finally getting some decent places to eat. It always had the pubs, Indian and low end stuff (all very good), but it's nice that a more upscale place has arrived.

I've gone three times now and enjoyed each trip. The appetizers and desserts are excellent so far and the main courses are good to very good. The wine list is always interesting and the staff have been quite friendly.

The downside to it being good is that it's gotten quite crowded and it can be a little noisey. It's nice that you can usually just walk in and get a seat at the bar and order from the full menu.

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I went here about 6 times within the first 2 months of it opening. The food is absolutely delicious compared to other places in central square for a similar price, ie, central kitchen, which has a few great appetizers but actually pretty crappy main courses for the price. Here, every course was just great. Ingredients used are of very high quality, and I strongly recommend both the roast lemon/lavender chicken and the gnocchi with chanterelles, despite normally thinking such dishes sound bland.

At least the time I had it, the chanterelles were local and were amazing. Even the vegetarian main course (with the swiss chard) is delicious. They were also very accommodating of me every time I went, willing to turn an appetizer into a dinner portion, etc.

The atmo is fine, but does leave a lot to be desired given that this is not a mid-range restaurant for central square. I knew the place when it was a burger king, so maybe it's just me, but I can tell. That said, central square and harvard square are overpriced in general, so i'd rather lose on the atmo and get some excellent food, which is what you get here. Wine by the glass choices are also good here.

So why the disparity in raves vs. mediocre reviews? I think the answer is that you usually feel rather surprised by the bill at the end, given that the atmo just does not live up to the quality of the food and wine. And the service is a disappointment, too. More than once I have had to wait half an hour for water and bread, was brought check when I wanted to order dessert, etc. That said, everyone who works there is a nice and good person. Just tell them you want dessert, or flag someone down and ask for bread, and there is no problem at all. I'm sure they will work out the kinks in time. Meanwhile, we have a delicious place to eat.

2
★★★★★

I went here about 6 times within the first 2 months of it opening. The food is absolutely delicious compared to other places in central square for a similar price, ie, central kitchen, which has a few great appetizers but actually pretty crappy main courses for the price. Here, every course was just great. Ingredients used are of very high quality, and I strongly recommend both the roast lemon/lavender chicken and the gnocchi with chanterelles, despite normally thinking such dishes sound bland.

At least the time I had it, the chanterelles were local and were amazing. Even the vegetarian main course (with the swiss chard) is delicious. They were also very accommodating of me every time I went, willing to turn an appetizer into a dinner portion, etc.

The atmo is fine, but does leave a lot to be desired given that this is not a mid-range restaurant for central square. I knew the place when it was a burger king, so maybe it's just me, but I can tell. That said, central square and harvard square are overpriced in general, so i'd rather lose on the atmo and get some excellent food, which is what you get here. Wine by the glass choices are also good here.

So why the disparity in raves vs. mediocre reviews? I think the answer is that you usually feel rather surprised by the bill at the end, given that the atmo just does not live up to the quality of the food and wine. And the service is a disappointment, too. More than once I have had to wait half an hour for water and bread, was brought check when I wanted to order dessert, etc. That said, everyone who works there is a nice and good person. Just tell them you want dessert, or flag someone down and ask for bread, and there is no problem at all. I'm sure they will work out the kinks in time. Meanwhile, we have a delicious place to eat.

Pros: food, wines by the glass, friendly

Cons: slow service, bland atmosphere

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Went for the Sunday evening prix fixe dinner--excellent and great value! The food was outstanding--bluefish cakes, swordfish nicoise, and lemon buttermilk pudding were especially good and well-prepared. The welcome and service were friendly and attentive.The room is lively but conversation still possible.We are looking forward to our next visit!

2
★★★★★

Went for the Sunday evening prix fixe dinner--excellent and great value! The food was outstanding--bluefish cakes, swordfish nicoise, and lemon buttermilk pudding were especially good and well-prepared. The welcome and service were friendly and attentive.The room is lively but conversation still possible.We are looking forward to our next visit!

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Everything was good and there was nothing wrong with the food, but we couldn't see why all the professional reviewers are fawning so much over this place. Though it is touted as reasonably priced, the evening will still cost quite a lot. Apparently they serve only a small selection of cocktails, and it threw the server completely off when we asked to see a cocktail menu when our standard choice was beyond their capability; she was never able to fully recover her routine, and the drinks were nothing to write home about. The neighboring table was given an amuse-bouche, but we were not. The skate is delicious; my companion thought the salmon was just OK. I liked the creme brulee. I think you will have a better time here if you are connected with the "in-crowd" of chefs, restaurants, and reviewers.

2
★★★★☆

Everything was good and there was nothing wrong with the food, but we couldn't see why all the professional reviewers are fawning so much over this place. Though it is touted as reasonably priced, the evening will still cost quite a lot. Apparently they serve only a small selection of cocktails, and it threw the server completely off when we asked to see a cocktail menu when our standard choice was beyond their capability; she was never able to fully recover her routine, and the drinks were nothing to write home about. The neighboring table was given an amuse-bouche, but we were not. The skate is delicious; my companion thought the salmon was just OK. I liked the creme brulee. I think you will have a better time here if you are connected with the "in-crowd" of chefs, restaurants, and reviewers.

Pros: delicious food

Cons: uneven service, long wait some nights

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Went with 7 people...every single person loved their meal. Salads and appetizers were wonderful and the main dishes were excellent. Some appetizers were ordered as main dishes and were plenty with a salad. Wine was priced fairly. Overall we all had a great time and a great meal and will be returning. Went on a Friday night..some used Valet but there was plenty of parking in the Green Street Garage as well.

2
★★★★★

Went with 7 people...every single person loved their meal. Salads and appetizers were wonderful and the main dishes were excellent. Some appetizers were ordered as main dishes and were plenty with a salad. Wine was priced fairly. Overall we all had a great time and a great meal and will be returning. Went on a Friday night..some used Valet but there was plenty of parking in the Green Street Garage as well.

Pros: Food, Food, Service

Cons: none

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Lovely food with plenty of flavor, respect for Mediterranean influences, and charming and warm service. Four of us, a busy Saturday night, and not one thing to whine about. We loved the sardine appetizer, passed around tastes of the Pork Osso Bucco, and found a lot to like on the wine list. A little pricey, a little noisy when full, but we could hear each other and that's becoming unusual! Grand addition and we'll be back.

2
★★★★★

Lovely food with plenty of flavor, respect for Mediterranean influences, and charming and warm service. Four of us, a busy Saturday night, and not one thing to whine about. We loved the sardine appetizer, passed around tastes of the Pork Osso Bucco, and found a lot to like on the wine list. A little pricey, a little noisy when full, but we could hear each other and that's becoming unusual! Grand addition and we'll be back.

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We came on the strength of many positive visits to the Blue Room, Steve's prior restaurant. His approach is similar: truly pleasant and knowledgeable staff, a small simple menu, fresh ingredients, and a value-conscious wine list. Tables were full on a Wednesday night. Our appetizers arrived within ten minutes, and service was nicely-paced throughout. My wife declared her mixed lettuce salad "one of the best ever", and my seared scallop appetizer of was hot and delicious. Our wine was $57, near the top of the range. My seared tuna was medium rare sashimi-grade. The lovely vegetable antipasto was sufficient as a main couse. We had very nice desserts of warm chocolate cake and lemon souffle. Rendezvous got the little things right. Had we ordered less expensive wine, our bill would have been less than $100. Rendezvous has the whole package.

2
★★★★★

We came on the strength of many positive visits to the Blue Room, Steve's prior restaurant. His approach is similar: truly pleasant and knowledgeable staff, a small simple menu, fresh ingredients, and a value-conscious wine list. Tables were full on a Wednesday night. Our appetizers arrived within ten minutes, and service was nicely-paced throughout. My wife declared her mixed lettuce salad "one of the best ever", and my seared scallop appetizer of was hot and delicious. Our wine was $57, near the top of the range. My seared tuna was medium rare sashimi-grade. The lovely vegetable antipasto was sufficient as a main couse. We had very nice desserts of warm chocolate cake and lemon souffle. Rendezvous got the little things right. Had we ordered less expensive wine, our bill would have been less than $100. Rendezvous has the whole package.

Pros: Top-class food, Nice bar, Great service

Cons: Tough parking, A bit noisy

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Large selection of appetizers, nice selection of entrees. Everything was well prepared, portions on a small side, particularly for the price. The tuna entree seemed very gray and a little underflavored. The deal breaker was the noise level. It was extremely difficult to have a conversation, waiters seemed to have difficulty hearing the orders and other diners seemed to be leaning in to hear each other. I left -- ears ringing -- feeling a little disappointed.

1
★★★☆☆

Large selection of appetizers, nice selection of entrees. Everything was well prepared, portions on a small side, particularly for the price. The tuna entree seemed very gray and a little underflavored. The deal breaker was the noise level. It was extremely difficult to have a conversation, waiters seemed to have difficulty hearing the orders and other diners seemed to be leaning in to hear each other. I left -- ears ringing -- feeling a little disappointed.

Pros: Food/Wine Selection

Cons: NOISE!, Expensive

Editorial from

It may seem an unlikely place for a comeback, but a former Burger King in Central Square is now home to a snappy Mediterranean eatery run by Steve Johnson, who resurfaced here a few years after leaving The Blue Room. We have to admit that…

 

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